WILDLIFE + ADVENTURE FOCUSED SAFARI
- NORTHERN NAMIBIA -
9 DAY GESA & FRANK PRIVATELY GUIDED OVERLAND TOUR
MINIMUM 8 PERSONS / MAXIMUM 12 PERSONS
MINIMUM AGE 16
6th - 14th April 2019
ZAR 77,100 (5.239 EUR) per person sharing
Receive a 2,5 % discount when paying in full upfront **see notes.
Single supplement ZAR 10,000 (680 EUR)
A supplement might be charged, if less than 10 pax travelling** see notes
14th - 17th April 2019
ZAR 24,000 (1.631 EUR) per person sharing
Single supplement ZAR 3,000 (204 EUR)
A supplement might be charged, if less than 5 persons travelling** see notes
· Explore with Gesa & Frank – their favourite wilderness areas of Namibia.
· Excellent wildlife sightings and great photographic opportunities - bring cameras if you have!
· Accommodation in a variety of different camps – all inclusive!
· Vehicle based and walking safaris as activities.
· Visit a remote Himba Settlement!
· Travel around as one exclusive group but split into two vehicles for guaranteed window seats!
· Explore the incredibly diverse areas of the famous Northern Namibia.
· Transport in specially modified 4x4 safari vehicles, with air conditioning and pop top roofs.
· Accompanied by Ultimate Safari’s Naturalist Guides!
· Sleep-out under the incredible Namibian night sky.
· Track for the endangered black rhino in conjunction with Save the Rhino Trust!
· Visit the renowned AfriCat Foundation and learn more about conservation initiatives involving Africa’s large cats.
REQUIREMENTS AND EXPECTATIONS
ITINERARY IN BRIEF
Day 1 Arrival in Windhoek, drive to Okonjima Plains Camp, AfriCat Foundation
Day 2 Mushara Bush Camp, eastern boundary of Etosha National Park
Day 3 & 4 Etosha Mountain Lodge, southwestern boundary of Etosha National Park
Day 5, 6 & 7 //Huab Under Canvas Camp, Damaraland (//Huab Conservancy)
Day 8 The Delight, Swakopmund
Day 9 Depart from Windhoek International Airport (or alternatively Walvis Bay Airport)
WHY THIS STYLE OF SAFARI
Most tourists visiting Namibia tend to self-drive. This is often cost-effective and great way to travel through Namibia. However, there is much more to see and learn while in Namibia and often while self-driving one tends to miss out on certain core aspects of a true safari and also the country.
The best way to fully experience Namibia is to travel with expert local guides who have an intimate knowledge of each camp/lodge and area you visit. This allows them to be able to expose the relevant highlights, adding continuity and depth to your safari, and effectively tailor-making your experience.
The guides we use for such tours share in a philosophy that ensures they never cease adding to their encyclopedic knowledge and this makes them lifelong scholars in the fields of their expertise. Their infectious enthusiasm, dedication, character, and in-depth knowledge of the country ensure that guests are at the forefront of real, unique and authentic experiences throughout their journey.
Namibia is a vast country, even by African standards, covering an area approximately twice the size of California and somewhat bigger than Texas, but with a population of a mere 2 million - one of the lowest densities in the world. It is also an 'ageless land’; visible through the heritage of rock art created by stone-age artists and geological attractions such as the petrified forest where fossilised tree trunks have lain for over 280 million years. Added to the space and silence, these all contribute to a feeling of antiquity, solitude and wilderness.
The climate is typical of a semi-desert country. Days are warm to hot and nights are generally cool. Temperatures are modified by the high plateau in the interior and by the cold Benguela Current that runs along the Atlantic coastline. Except for the first few months of the year, the country is generally dry with very little rain.
This adventure focused guided Namibian safari affords you the chance to experience this magnificent and memorable country in a very personal way – with Gesa and Frank! Working alongside them you will also have your own professional and experienced Namibian naturalist safari guides who will enhance your enjoyment of this unique country by making it a fascinating and stress-free journey of discovery amidst very dramatic scenery. They bring an additional wealth of knowledge to the tour and will make it a life enriching journey, creating a deeper understanding and appreciation for the incredible places and people that we visit.
This safari itinerary was personally created by Gesa and Frank and is focused around the wilderness areas and the unique wildlife that inhabit them. It is designed to be stress free, educational, private, scenically beautiful and adventurous. Come explore and photograph alongside F&G - this beautiful country while you visit some of their all-time favourite wild places. One of which is Damaraland, a remote area from Gesa’s book, where she spent months tracking and protecting desert adapted elephants!
Arrival in Windhoek and head to AfriCat Foundation
Okonjima Plains Camp (View Rooms)
Lunch & Dinner
After landing at Windhoek’s International Hosea Kutako Airport, about 40km out of the city, you will be welcomed by Gesa and Frank. You then depart in your private safari vehicle and make your way through Windhoek and head north via Okahandja to reach Okonjima and the AfriCat Foundation. Here you can enjoy the welcoming atmosphere, superb accommodation and fantastic activities; starting with a guided afternoon excursion. Okonjima is home to the AfriCat Foundation, a wildlife sanctuary which focuses on the research and rehabilitation of Africa's big cats, especially injured or captured leopard and cheetah. Close encounters with leopard and cheetah are an unforgettable highlight.
AfriCat Foundation: Okonjima is home to the AfriCat Foundation, a wildlife sanctuary founded in 1991 that is dedicated to creating conservation awareness, preserving habitat, promoting environmental educational research and supporting animal welfare. Their main focus is Africa's big cats, especially injured or captured leopard and cheetah. AfriCat runs the largest cheetah and leopard rescue and release program in the world. In the last 17 years over 1 000 of these predators have been rescued with over 85 % being released back into the wild. Close encounters with leopard and cheetah are an unforgettable highlight. Activities include leopard tracking by vehicle, a visit to the cheetah welfare project, large carnivore tracking on foot including cheetahs, wild dogs and spotted hyenas, participation in the fun bushman trail and various self-guided walking trails.
Okonjima Plains Camp: This latest addition to the Okonjima portfolio, the Okonjima Plains Camp, design honours the Okonjima cattle-farming history. In the early 1920’s, Okonjima became a cattle farm and was bought by Val (VJ) & Rose Hanssen in 1970. They were well-established Brahman breeders and continued to farm cattle until the need for solutions to increasing livestock losses became pertinent and post-independence interest in Namibia as a tourist destination, escalated. In 1993, the herds of Brahman and Jersey cattle were sold, changing the face of Okonjima as well as that of Carnivore Conservation, with the establishment of the AfriCat foundation! It is a larger property with over 24 rooms and the first Okonjima property that is wholly family friendly, as well as providing wheelchair friendly facilities. The main dining area, also fondly named The Barn, includes the dining and lounge area, the pool and the curio-shop. The open, grass-plains were 'recovered' by removing and burning invasive Acacia-bush during 2012 and 2013, creating the plains-view, ensuring a great sunset most evenings. The rooms have a view across these plains, and each room is equipped with a mini-fridge for your own drinks, tea/coffee station, safe, telephone, roof fans, spacious en-suite bathroom with twin basins and a large shower, and a balcony to relax and soak up the peaceful setting.
AfriCat Foundation to eastern boundary of Etosha National Park
Mushara Bush Camp
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
It’s up early this morning as you head out on another memorable guided activity before returning to Plains Camp for a sumptuous brunch. After freshening up you take to the road and continue your journey north towards the Etosha National Park to reach Mushara Bush Camp, situated on the eastern boundary of Etosha. This afternoon your guide will take you on your first game drive inside the Etosha National Park, returning to the comforts of Mushara Bush Camp before sunset with enough time to freshen up before dinner.
Mushara Bush Camp: Mushara Bush Camp is the third addition to the outstanding accommodation of the Mushara Collection and offers a down-to-earth tented bush camp experience. The main Bush Camp area is thatched and has a true bush camp feel to it. The early evenings see a camp fire lit where guests can exchange stories of the day’s wildlife sightings. Meals are served on the thatched verandah with the bush being a mere step away. The 16 custom made en-suite tents are built from a combination of canvas and local limestone. With their own 8m² private verandah and roof to floor windows, these rooms are spacious and airy. Each large bathroom has an oversized window and shower looking into the surrounding bush. The brushed cement floors and lime stone walls keep the rooms cool from the afternoon sun with the help from floor fans. Four of these tents are ideally suited for families with small children.
Eastern to southwestern boundary of Etosha National Park
Etosha Mountain Lodge
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Today is dedicated to a full day of exciting game viewing within the Etosha National Park from the comfort of your private safari vehicle. You make your way west through the breadth of the Park, stopping at selected waterholes to observe the game gathered there along the way. You then exit the park through the southern Andersson Gate and traverse the southwestern border of the park to reach Safarihoek’s Etosha Mountain Lodge, perched on a hillside overlooking the expansive Etosha Heights Reserve. After your arrival you will have some time at leisure which can be spent appreciating the unique surroundings and relax whilst observing the wildlife coming to the lodge’s nearby floodlit waterhole to drink, or enjoy a much more intimate perspective from the lodge’s photographic hide. For those who are keen to head out on a night drive on the reserve, you have the option to do so after dinner.
Etosha National Park: Etosha National Park covers 22,270km², of which approximately 5,000km² is made up of saline depressions or ‘pans’. The largest of these pans, the Etosha Pan, can be classified as a saline desert in its own right. The Etosha Pan lies in the Owambo Basin, on the north-western edge of the Namibian Kalahari Desert. Until three million years ago it formed part of huge, shallow lake that was reduced to a complex of salt pans when the major river that fed it, the Kunene, changed course and began to flow to the Atlantic instead. If the lake existed today, it would be the third largest in the world. Etosha is the largest of the pans at 4,760km² in extent. It is nowadays filled with water only when sufficient rain falls to the north in Angola, inducing floods to flow southward along the Cuvelai drainage system. The Park consists of grassland, woodland and savannah. Game-viewing centers around the numerous springs and waterholes where several different species can often be seen at one time. The Park boasts some 114 mammal and over 340 bird species. Wildlife that one might see includes elephant, lion, giraffe, blue wildebeest, eland, kudu, gemsbok (oryx), zebra, rhino, cheetah, leopard, hyena, honey badger and warthog, as well as the endemic black faced impala.
Etosha Mountain Lodge: Etosha Mountain Lodge is located on the Etosha Heights Reserve and forms part of a 60,000ha privately owned game reserve which shares borders, for about 65km, with Etosha National Park. Etosha Mountain Lodge’s luxury chalets are built with privacy in mind and offer breathtaking views of the African savannah. The main complex, also with wonderful view includes a reception area, lounge, dining room, bar, swimming pool with teak deck and wine cellar (grotto). Etosha Heights Reserve consists of 9 farms that were originally used for domestic farming, acquired over a period of time and combined to create a stunning wildlife reserve that they are now privileged to be part of. The reserve boasts an array of animals which include various species of antelope, predators, and birds as well as a variety of other wildlife, and also participates in various conservation efforts and projects that are currently operational. The main goal and vision is to encourage and develop sustainable eco-friendly tourism, all to the benefit of the area, animals as well as the community.
Eastern to southwestern boundary of Etosha National Park
Etosha Mountain Lodge
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Today is available for a full day of exciting and memorable morning and afternoon game drives on the prolific private Etosha Heights Reserve with your lodge rangers, exploring the abundant waterholes. Option to join a night drive on the reserve, or alternatively spend time game viewing from the hide at the floodlit waterhole.
Etosha Heights Reserve: The impressive 60,000ha of classic Etosha landscape around Safarihoek Lodge is dominated by vast flat savannah, interspersed by Mopani woodland, riverine forest and scattered salt pans. Dolomite hills offer a habitat to the elusive mountain zebra, kudu and lion. The abundant waterholes attract large numbers of game and birds. Etosha Heights is home to numerous species of antelope including sable, black-faced impala, giraffe, and other plains game. In winter, aardvark and elephant sightings are not infrequent. The Etosha area is rated one of the best places in Africa to view rhino, and Etosha Heights offers unique encounters with both black and white rhino.
Etosha Heights Reserve to //Huab Conservancy
//Huab Under Canvas Camp
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
After an early breakfast you continue your safari heading south into the wonderful and diverse region of Damaraland, traversing rugged terrain to reach your very own private and secluded //Huab Under Canvas Camp, taking time to view game and absorb the vastness of the scenery along the way. Damaraland is typified by displays of colour, magnificent table topped mountains, rock formations and bizarre-looking vegetation. The present-day landscape has been formed by the erosion of wind, water and geological forces which have formed rolling hills, dunes, gravel plains and ancient river terraces. It is the variety and loneliness of the area as well as the scenic splendour which will reward and astound you, giving one an authentic understanding of the word 'wilderness'.
During the course of the day your guides will take you into an extremely remote area to visit a Himba settlement there. Your guide’s presence and contacts with the local community will ensure you will be welcomed as a ‘friend of a friend’ and that you will be able to spend considerable time there learning about these fascinating nomadic pastoralists. There has been virtually no modern influence on these communities, which makes for a fascinating cultural exchange.
The Himba: The Himba, Tjimba and other Herero people who inhabit Namibia’s remote north-western Kunene Region are loosely referred to as the Kaokovelders. Basically, Herero in terms of origin, language and culture, they are semi-nomadic pastoralists who tend to tend from one watering place to another. They seldom leave their home areas and maintain, even in their own, on which other cultures have made little impression. For many centuries, they have lived a relatively isolated existence and were not involved to any noteworthy extent in the long struggle for pasturelands between the Nama and the Herero. The largest group of Kaokovelders is the Himba, semi-nomads who live in scattered settlements throughout the Kunene Region. They are a tall, slender and statuesque people, characterized especially by their proud yet friendly bearing. The women especially are noted for their unusual sculptural beauty, enhanced by intricate hairstyles and traditional adornments. They rub their bodies with red ochre and fat, a treatment that protects their skins against the harsh desert climate. The homes of the Himba of Kaokoland are simple, cone-shaped structures of saplings, bound together with palm leaves and plastered with mud and dung. The men build the structures, while the women mix the clay and do the plastering. A fire burns in the headman’s hut day and night, to keep away insects and provide light and heating. A family may move from one home to another several times a year to seek grazing for their goats and cattle. A Himba woman spends as much as three hours a day on her toilette. First, she bathes, then she anoints herself with her own individually prepared mixture which not only protects her skin from the harsh desert sun, but also keeps insects away and prevents her body hair from falling out. She uses another mixture of butter fat, fresh herbs and black coals to rub on her hair, and ‘steams’ her clothes regularly over the permanent fire. Men, women and children adorn themselves with necklaces, bracelets, anklets and belts made from iron and shell beads. With their unusual and striking designs, these items have gained a commercial value and are being produced on a small scale for the urban market. Sculptural headrests in particular are sought-after items.
Damaraland, //Huab Conservancy
//Huab Trails Camp
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Today is spent exploring the remarkable Damaraland area, enjoying the freedom to explore the fascinating landscapes with F&G and your private naturalist guides. Damaraland is a surprising refuge for desert adapted wildlife that may include elephants, giraffe, oryx, springbok and even some predators such as lion. However, as with any wildlife sightings in Namibia, this depends on many factors including seasonality so specific sightings are never guaranteed. The wildlife roams large tracks of unfenced desert landscapes and finding game can be challenging, but this is all part of the adventure of exploring this wild untouched gem of Namibia.
The //Huab Under Canvas Camp works together with the Save the Rhino Trust (SRT) – an NGO that has been has been instrumental in the preservation of the rare, endangered, desert adapted black rhino. Having barely survived the slaughter in many parts of Africa during the '80s and '90s, the black rhino population of Namibia increased substantially since the formation of SRT.
You will spend an exciting and memorable morning out rhino tracking, after which you will set off on your first day of walking to //Huab Trails, arriving there in time to freshen up for an enchanting night under a billion stars. This unique open-air retreat offers crystal clear skies with nothing between you and the brilliant stars of the Namibian sky, where satellites, galaxies, shooting stars and the occasional significant meteor can all be seen with the naked eye. Gesa, Frank and your guides will be on hand after a sumptuous campfire dinner for a fascinating astronomy tutorial before you retire for the night.
Desert Adapted Elephant: In habitats with sufficient vegetation and water an adult elephant consumes as much as 300kg of roughage and 230 liters of water every day of its life. Consider what a herd of them would eat and drink in a week or a month or a year. Finding an African elephant in a desert? Well, yes, and not only elephant, but other large mammals as well, such as black rhinoceros and giraffe. Their ranges extend from river catchments in northern Kaokoveld as far south as the northern Namib. Apart from the Kunene River, seven river courses northwards from the Ugab provide them with possible routes across the desert, right to the Skeleton Coast. The biggest are the Hoarusib, the Hoanib, the Huab and the Ugab Rivers. Desert adapted elephant in Kaokoland and the Namib walk further for water and fodder than any other elephant in Africa. The distances between waterholes and feeding grounds can be as great as 68km. The typical home range of a family herd is larger than 2,000km², or eight times as big as ranges in central Africa where rainfall is much higher. They walk and feed at night and rest during the day. To meet their nutritional and bulk requirements they browse on no fewer than 74 of the 103 plant species that grow in their range. Not a separate species or even a subspecies, they are an ecotype unique to Namibia in Africa south of the equator, behaviorally adapted to hyper-arid conditions. Elephant in Mali on the southwestern fringe of the Sahara Desert are the only others known to survive in similar conditions.
Desert Black Rhinoceros: Namibia is home to the larger of two subspecies of the black rhinoceros found in southern Africa. The only population that remains in the wild, unfenced and outside reserves occupies an arid range in the western Kaokoveld. Their preferred habitat is the mountainous escarpment, but they follow ephemeral rivers into the northern Namib as well, especially when conditions are favorable after rains. They are the only black rhinoceros in Africa that are internationally recognized as a “desert group”. Like desert-adapted elephant, they cover great distances. They walk and feed at night and rest during the day. To meet their nutritional and bulk requirements they browse on no fewer than 74 of the 103 plant species that grow in their range. One of the few animals to eat fibrous Welwitschia leaves; they even feed heavily on the milkbush (Euphorbia virosa) with its sharp spines and toxic latex, presumably because of the high water and fat content. They are physical defenses of dryland plants without apparent harm. Once widespread in the subcontinent, black rhinoceros are an endangered species. The smaller subspecies, Diceros bicornis minor, does not range into Namibia.
Damaraland, //Huab Conservancy
//Huab Under Canvas Camp
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Damaraland to Swakopmund
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Today’s journey takes you in a southwesterly direction past the Brandberg, Namibia’s tallest mountain standing at 2574m in height, before heading south along the coastal road to reach Swakopmund, enjoying a picnic lunch at a scenic location along the way. After checking in at your hotel, there should be time this afternoon to wander around town and along the waterfront on foot if desired, before heading out to dinner at one of the popular restaurants in town.
Swakopmund: Swakopmund resembles a small, German coastal resort nestled between the desert and the sea. It boasts a charming combination of German colonial architecture blended with good hotels, shops, restaurants, museums, craft centres, galleries and cafés. Swakopmund had its beginnings as a landing station in 1892 when the German Reich erected the first building, a barracks for troops on the site. Settlers followed and attempts to create a harbour town by constructing a concrete Mole and then iron jetty failed. The advent of World War 1 halted developments and the town sank into decline until half a century later when infrastructures improved and an asphalt road opened between Windhoek and Swakopmund. This made reaching the previously isolated town quicker and easier and it prospered once again to become Namibia’s premier resort town. Although the sea is normally cold for swimming there are pleasant beaches and the cooler climate is refreshing after the time spent in the desert.
The Delight Hotel Swakopmund: Amongst the town’s captivating contrasts and old traditions, Gondwana’s Delight is a fresh breeze in the desert. Conveniently located within short walking distance of the ‘Mole’, this modern, uplifting and inviting hotel is the ideal base for one’s stay. Every effort is made to surprise and delight guests with thoughtful touches and locally inspired reasons to smile. Each en-suite room is designed with comfort in mind and is equipped with air-conditioning, tea/coffee station, fridge, TV, complimentary WiFi and safe.
Swakopmund to Windhoek International Airport or Walvis Bay Airport
After breakfast you bid farewell to Swakopmund, making your way back to Windhoek. You will then be transferred out to the Windhoek International Airport in time to check in for your international flight home. Alternatively, you have the option to fly out from Walvis Bay’s International Airport instead. Your guide will then drop you off there.
Please note: if flying out of Windhoek International Airport, onward international flights should be no earlier than 15H00 to allow sufficient time for the drive to Windhoek and 2-hour mandatory check-in procedures for all international flights.
You have the option to extend your safari - WITHOUT F&G - for an additional two nights in the Sossusvlei area and a final night in Windhoek.
Swakopmund to Neuhof Nature Reserve, Sossusvlei area
Sossus Under Canvas Camp
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
NOTE: As an alternative to the drive from Swakopmund to Sossusvlei you may like to take a scenic light aircraft flight over Sossusvlei and along the Diamond Coast (optional extra at additional cost). This flight (weather / fog permitting) allows you a bird’s eye view over the salt pans, Sandwich Harbour, shipwrecks, abandoned mining camps & dune sea before landing in Sossusvlei. Your guide will drive ahead and meet up with you in Sossusvlei later in the day.
The fascinating drive today takes you south through the awesome and ever-changing desert landscapes of the Namib Naukluft National Park, including the impressive Gaub and Kuiseb canyons as you make your way into the Namib Desert, stopping for a picnic lunch at a scenic location along the way. You arrive at exclusive Sossus Under Canvas Camp in the afternoon where you will stay for two nights whilst you explore the remarkable sights of the Namib Desert with your guides. This afternoon you have the option to explore the surrounding area with your guides, perhaps by foot, ending with sundowners overlooking the vat desert plains.
Sossus Under Canvas Camp: Located on the private 24,000ha Neuhof Nature Reserve and nestled between the Nubib and Zaris Mountains, this camp is a mere thirty minutes’ drive from the Sossusvlei gate, the gateway to the Great Namib Sand Sea which has recently been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The camp offers eight tents, two of which are family units, and is open seasonally between April and November, offering a fantastic alternative to any traditional lodge in the Sossusvlei area as it also offers exclusivity which is beyond compare. Activities include visits to Sossusvlei with your private guide and general exploration of the private Neuhof Nature Reserve, including nature walks and drives, magic moments in desert pools (yes, isn’t that intriguing), star gazing, our pioneering Stellar Escape which is our very own sleep out, as well as a Trails Camp offering a multi-day walking safari. There will also be the opportunity to visit the Plateau which offers some of the best views out over the Namib Desert, but only for those staying for a minimum of three nights. In addition to this, Sossus Under Canvas provides a convenient base from which to go on hot air balloon flights as well as scenic helicopter and fixed wing aircraft flights over the local area. It is also a great venue for photographers, offering fantastic landscapes, iconic quiver trees, and the opportunity for night time photography which is often very difficult to arrange elsewhere.
The Neuhof Nature Reserve: This Nature Reserve was founded by Landscape Conservationist and Philanthropist Swen Bachran in 2010, and it serves as a natural buffer from the harshest desert conditions and a refuge that is vital to wildlife through the dry season. Eight years of intensive work to reverse sixty years of inappropriate farming practices, including the removal of 89km of internal fencing, the installation of wildlife watering points, the improvement of road networks, the rehabilitation of land and the reintroduction of wildlife that historically occurred here, has resulted in one of the most picturesque and ecologically sound tracts of land in the area. Neuhof has gravel plains, mountainous areas with dry river valleys as well as a large raised plateau which towers above the desert below, and it is now home to some of largest concentrations of wildlife in the area, including Oryx, Springbok, Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra, Burchell’s Zebra, Kudu, Hartebeest, Giraffe, Steenbok, Klipspringer, Bat-eared Fox, and Aardwolf, as well as predators such as Leopard, Cheetah and Spotted Hyena. Plans for the future which include the reintroduction of critically endangered black rhino and the acquisition of adjoining land are already well underway!
Sossusvlei / Namib Desert
Sossus Under Canvas Camp
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
This morning you will rise early for a magical excursion with your guide into the Namib Naukluft National Park, entering the Park gates at sunrise to capture the dunes whilst the light is soft and shadows accentuate their towering shapes and curves. This area boasts some of the highest free-standing sand dunes in the world. Your guide will give you an insight on the formation of the Namib Desert and its myriad of fascinating creatures and plants that have adapted to survive these harsh environs. Once you have explored the dune fields to your heart’s content you can enjoy a relaxed picnic breakfast in the shade of a camel thorn tree. You then return to your Sossus Under Canvas Camp in the early afternoon for lunch, stopping off to view Sesriem Canyon along the way. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure (from experience, this is usually welcomed after an exhilarating morning in the dunes). You have the option to head out on another sundowner drive or walk on the Neuhof Reserve later in the day.
Sossusvlei: This most frequently visited section of the massive 50,000km² Namib Naukluft National Park has become known as Sossusvlei, famous for its towering apricot coloured sand dunes which can be reached by following the Tsauchab River valley. Sossusvlei itself is actually a clay pan set amidst these star shaped dunes which stand up to 300m above the surrounding plains, ranking them among the tallest dunes on earth. The deathly white clay pan contrasts against the orange sands and forms the endpoint of the ephemeral Tsauchab River, within the interior of the Great Sand Sea. The river course rises south of the Naukluft Mountains in the Great Escarpment. It penetrates the sand sea for some 55km before it finally peters out at Sossusvlei, about the same distance from the Atlantic Ocean. Until the encroaching dunes blocked its course around 60,000 years ago, the Tsauchab River once reached the sea; as ephemeral rivers still do in the northern half of the Namib. Sand-locked pans to the west show where the river previously flowed to before dunes shifted its endpoint to where it currently gathers at Sossusvlei. Roughly once a decade rainfall over the catchment area is sufficient to bring the river down in flood and fill the pan. On such occasions the mirror images of dunes and camel thorn trees around the pan are reflected in the water. Sossusvlei is the biggest of four pans in the vicinity. Another, famous for its gnarled and ghostly camel thorn trees, is Deadvlei which can be reached on foot over 1km of sand. Deadvlei’s striking camel thorn trees; dead for want of water, still stand erect as they once grew. They survived until about 900 years ago when the sand sea finally blocked the river from occasionally flooding the pan.
Sesriem Canyon: Sesriem Canyon has evolved through centuries of erosion by the Tsauchab River which has incised a narrow gorge about 1.5km long and 30m deep into the surrounding conglomerates, exposing the varying layers of sedimentation deposited over millions of years. The shaded cool depths of the canyon allow pools of water to gather during the rainy season and remain for much of the year round. These pools were a vital source of water for early settlers who drew water for their livestock by knotting six (ses) lengths of rawhide thongs (riems) together, hence the canyon and surrounding area became known as Sesriem.
Sossusvlei to Windhoek
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
After breakfast, you bid farewell to the Namib Desert, traversing the Great Escarpment and scenic Khomas Hochland highlands to make your way back to Windhoek. Upon your arrival in Windhoek your guide will transfer you to the River Crossing Lodge for the last night of your safari and a farewell dinner with your guide at the lodge.
River Crossing Lodge: Situated just east of Namibia’s capital city Windhoek and nestled amongst the foothills of the Auas Mountains lies River Crossing Lodge in the heart of a 6,500ha private game reserve. The German architecture at River Crossing Lodge resembles a farm style of yesteryear, completed with corrugated roofs, wide balconies decorated with impressive pots of geraniums, and wide-open spaces. Entrance through the main lodge area is through a set of imposing double doors that lead straight to the bar, overlooking the swimming pool. The large dining room leads out onto a deck, where dramatic views of Windhoek, the mountains and surrounding game farm abound. To the left of the bar is a large lounge, furnished with comfortable leather sofas and decorated with black and white pictures of vintage Windhoek. This huge building has room for a Conference Centre with large folding doors which open out onto a veranda and a small Wellness Centre, offering small-scale beauty massages and facial/body treatments. Accommodation at River Crossing Lodge is 20 double rooms, 5 have double beds and 15 with twin beds. A choice of settings are available for rooms; rim-perched, Windhoek facing or Auas Mountain view. All rooms are equipped with DSTV satellite channels and wireless Internet access.
River Crossing to Windhoek International Airport
Today you will be collected from River Crossing Lodge by an Ultimate Safaris representative for your transfer out to the Windhoek International Airport in time to check in for your onward international flight home.
- All accommodation as described above.
- Transportation in a luxury air-conditioned safari vehicle/s with pop up roof for optimal game viewing
- Services of a registered and experienced English-speaking naturalist safari guide/s.
- Services of Gesa and Frank as your private guides
- All meals as described.
- All entrance fees and excursions as described in above itinerary.
- Arrival and departure airport transfers.
- Mineral water on board the safari vehicle.
- Local beverages (water, beers, ciders, juices, soft drinks, house wines and local spirits) throughout safari – excluding premium and import brands.
- Welcome pack on arrival.
- International flights to Namibia and related airport taxes.
- Personal travel insurance (required).
- Optional scenic flight.
- Any additional meals or drinks not included above.
- Any entrance fees and guided excursions not included in the above itinerary.
- Laundry (laundry service available at certain lodges at extra cost).
- Premium or vintage wines and champagnes as well as imported spirits.
- Gratuities for accompanying guides.
- Items of personal nature (telephone expenses, curios, medicines etc).
- ENTRY VISA FEES.
- BANK CHARGES (as per bank or 3.5% commission for VISA/MASTER and 4.5% commission for AMEX).
- Services subject to availability at the time of booking.
- Times of activities, meals, transfers and campsites is subject to change.
- As of paragraph 6 of our German T&C’s, safariFRANK has the right to cancel the trip latest 75 days before start of the trip (in this case 29.01.2019). The trip cannot be cancelled by safariFRANK later than 75 days before tour start.
- Given the nature of this safari, the age restriction is a minimum of 14 years paying full fare.
- Maximum age is 65. Anyone older than this is required to produce a medical certificate proving that they are physically able to participate in the activities and terrain in which the safari tour will be conducted in.
- PLEASE NOTE that whilst we endeavor to accommodate guests at the above stipulated lodges/camps, safariFRANK reserves the right to replace such with one of a similar standard and location.
- Terms and conditions apply.
- Rates are quoted as per person sharing, so clients booking under such rates must be willing to share with either of the two sexes. Although we try to accommodate the same sex per room (unless travelling together) this is not always possible. If we cannot find a suitable partner to share the room with, single supplement will be charged.
- For the optional extension please note that there may also be a supplement of ZAR 4,125 (280 EUR) per person charged for each person below 5 travelling. The maximum extra cost for this extension is ZAR 8,364 (560 EUR) per person. The amount will be added to your rest payment invoice 60 days before departure.
- This tour is priced on ZAR. The EUR price indicated above has been calculated with the exchange rate available at time of publication of this tour. safariFRANK reserves the right to recalculate the exchange rate at time of deposit and at time of rest payment due. Your invoice for the rest payment will be adjusted accordingly.
- You shall receive a 2,5% discount on the overall tour price, if paying in total upfront. In case of a non-favorable exchange rate, you will be charged the difference 60 days before departure in case of a favorable exchange rate, we will grant a credit of the same kind.
- Please note that we provide all our guests with insolvency insurance.
- Visas/Passports: Please ensure: 1) that you have pre-arranged your entry visa if required; 2) that your passport is valid for at least six months after your scheduled departure date from Namibia; 3) that you have a minimum of 2 consecutive clear pages. If this is not the case, there is a danger of being turned away by the Immigration Service on arrival at the airport – assuming your airline has agreed to bring you and risk a fine in the first place.
- Please ensure that you have arranged the entire necessary single or multiple entry visas prior to your arrival into southern Africa (unless you have confirmed they are available on entry). For an up to date list on which nationalities are automatically granted tourist visas upon entry into Namibia please refer to the Namibia Tourism Board website – http://www.namibiatourism.com.na/pages/Visas.
- For Visa application procedures, please visit the Namibian Ministry of Home Affairs website - http://www.mfa.gov.na/
- It is your responsibility to ensure that the necessary visas requirements are complied with before entering the country. safariFRANK cannot be held responsible for any travelers being declined access into the country due to incorrect papers.
- Health: No vaccinations are mandatory but please consult your doctor for medical advice. Parts of Namibia are considered to be malarial so we recommend the use of anti-malarial prophylactics (normally Malarone), especially if visiting during the Namibian summer (December to April) – subject to advice from your own doctor.
- Luggage allowance: Luggage is normally restricted to 20kg per person including photographic equipment and hand luggage - in soft, hold all type bags which should not have any wheels, frames, or rigid structures as these may not be able to fit in the plane’s luggage compartment. If adding other extensions that involve other light aircraft transfers, the luggage limit may be reduced even further to 12kg in soft bags (please enquire if you think this may apply to you).
- Luggage Dimensions: The maximum dimensions for soft bags that can be easily accommodated are as follows: 25cm (10 inches) wide, 30cm (12 inches) high, and 62cm (24 inches) long
- Excess Luggage: If you need to bring luggage with you that exceeds this allowance, you may still be able to take this with you by paying for an additional seat on the aircraft – although this may not be necessary if going on a private charter flight where there are only two passengers. It may also be possible to arrange for your guide to bring the excess luggage along in your safari vehicle with him if you are meeting up at the end of the fly in part of your safari. Alternatively, we are very happy to store any excess luggage for you and return it to you at the end of your Namibian safari – provided that we are scheduled to see you again when you come back through Windhoek at the end.
- Passenger weights: Please note that passengers weighing over 100kg may be required to pay for a second seat when flying on scheduled seat rate flights. This should not be applicable very often and it would rarely be the case if travelling on private charter flights when some of the seats are not filled. This is more a matter of the pilot being able to balance the plane for safety reasons than because of the seemingly arbitrary weight limit. However, please let us know in advance if this restriction is likely to apply to you so we can do whatever is possible to minimize the likelihood of it becoming an issue or leading to any significant extra costs.
- Vehicles: Vehicles used are normally specially modified 4x4 Toyota Landcruisers, equipped with air-conditioning and fridges for drinks and snacks. A trailer for luggage is taken if required.